Thank you for agreeing to be part of the peer review process for the Journal of Hospital Infection. 

Peer review is essential in assessing the quality and relevance of the articles that are submitted to the Journal of Hospital Infection. A quality review provides an essential service to our journal authors, our readers, and ultimately to the medical community. The journal simply could not function without our peer reviewers.

COPE (The Committee for Publishing Ethics) have recently produced some ethical guidelines for peer reviewers, available on the COPE website. Please take the time to have a look at COPE Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers

Becoming a reviewer

We are always looking to expand our pool of reviewers. It is very straightforward to register as a reviewer for the JHI. Simply go to the Editorial Manager page and register as a user. On the registration page, you will be given the option to state your availability to review. If you are an existing user, you can select this option by updating the information in your user account.

Once registered, you will be asked to select from a menu of ‘personal classifications’. Please select your research interests and areas of expertise from the options available. We advise you not to select more than ten classifications, Editorial Manager matches reviewers’ classifications with those that authors have given for their manuscripts, and suggests suitable reviewers to the Editors.

Existing reviewers: keeping your details updated

Please remember to update your contact details (especially your email address) if these change at any time.

We recommend that every year or two Reviewers check that the personal classifications on Editorial Manager, to make sure that they are still current; occasionally the Editorial Office emails Reviewers to remind them to do this. In particular, if you find that you are being invited to review papers that you feel fall outside your areas of interest it is very likely to be because the personal classifications that you last submitted on Editorial Manager no longer reflect your current interests.

If you become unavailable to review at any point in the future (either temporarily or permanently), please let us know and we can remove you from our database to prevent unwanted invitations.

Please be assured that we will hold your details in accordance with UK Data Protection policies.

Invitation to review

The JHI receives around 800 manuscripts each year. All of these are first considered by the Editorial team, and around half of all submissions are rejected at this stage, for example because the manuscript is not of good enough quality, the subject material does not fall within the scope of the JHI, or the findings are not sufficiently novel. We hope that this means that all of the papers that we assign for review have at least a chance of being suitable for publication.

At the JHI we aim to give authors the fastest possible decision on their work. This means that we do ask our reviewers to meet tight deadlines, at the stages of both accepting or declining an invitation to review, and reviewing a manuscript. When these deadlines pass, the Editorial Manager system automatically uninvites reviewers. We understand that our short deadlines can sometimes be frustrating for reviewers, especially at weekends or during periods of leave. However if you do find that you have been uninvited from an reviewing a paper that you would like to review, or if you require a few more days to complete a review, please contact the Editorial Office so that we can help you.

Invitations to review are sent to your nominates email address(es). The email includes a direct link to Editorial Manager, which allows you to accept or decline the invitation; please respond using the link, and not by a separate email to the office.

Conflict of Interest

Conflict of interest could include anything that might bias your judgement or comments as a reviewer. This might include employment, consultancies, honoraria, paid expert advice, ownership of stocks or shares, directorships etc, as well as professional or academic competition, a close or negative personal relationship, or even simply a matter of intellectual passion!

If an Editor has asked you to review the paper, s/he won't have been aware of this. If you know that you have a conflict of interest, please decline the invitation. You don't have to say why. If you are unsure whether a conflict of interest might have arisen, contact our editorial office for further advice at admin@his.org.uk.

Confidentiality

If you are asked to review a manuscript, the manuscript details and contents must be kept confidential. Please do not disclose these unless discussing the paper with a professional colleague who is also aware of the importance of confidentiality. Please disclose the identity of any co-reviewers when submitting your review.

Structuring a review

There are two boxes to use within the review system on Editorial Manager. The first box is for confidential comments to the Editor. Please use this box to provide a short and honest assessment of the manuscript. Also, any recommendations to the Editors, such as the need for a specialist statistician review, should be made here. The authors will not be able to see any comments in this section.

The second box is where you should submit the review that will be seen by the authors. The authors will not be able to identify the Reviewer unless you choose to add your name to the end of your review.

Unlike some journals, the JHI does not use structured reviews where Reviewers are asked to assess the manuscript against a series of predefined standards. We simply ask reviewers to comment on the scientific content of the paper as they see fit, assessing the quality and novelty of the research and its relevance to the scope of the JHI and the interests of our readers. Most reviewers subdivide their comments into those that are major and those that are minor.

Please be polite, fair, constructive and clear in your comments, so that the authors will be able to understand exactly what changes are required to make their manuscript publishable, and/or why you do not consider that it is suitable for publication in the JHI. The Editorial team may occasionally edit your comments, for example if they are seen to be unconstructive in tone.

Use of English

Not all manuscripts arrive written in perfect English. Clearly if the use of English does not allow you to understand the paper, it cannot be reviewed properly and the recommendation has to be to either reject it or revise it to improve the use of English and review again. However, if the paper is readable, please do try to give it a full review. Please do not list minor errors of grammar, spelling, or and other typos in your review; these will be dealt with when the paper is copy edited.

Plagiarism and other misconduct by authors

If you think that parts of a manuscript may have been be plagiarised, then please notify us, if possible with the reference(s) of the paper(s) that you think may have been plagiarised. Use either your review on Editorial Manager or e-mail the Editorial Office directly. We will check our plagiarism software reports and investigate the matter fully. Your comments will be treated confidentially.

Likewise, please inform us about any other serious concerns you may have about a manuscript, e.g. possible fraud or misconduct, so that we can investigate, Again, your comments will be treated confidentially.

Finalising your review

After completing your review the final step before submission is to make a recommendation to the Editors from the drop down menu above the two review boxes.

The options for recommendation are:

  • Accept as is. This manuscript is perfect. Highly unusual, unless it is a revision.
  • Accept after revision. The paper requires only a few minor amendments, and can be published once these are made.
  • Revise and Review again. This paper might ultimately be worth publishing, but does require substantial revision.
  • Reject. This paper should not be considered further for publication in the JHI.

The Reviewer can also recommend to the Editor in the comments to the Editor box that the manuscript should be resubmitted to the JHI in some other format (e.g. a full length article resubmitted as a short report).

Recognizing your contribution

At the end of each year we send all Reviewers a certificate showing how many reviews they have performed. You may find this useful as evidence for Continuing Professional Development.

Once a year we publish a list of the names of all people who have undertaken reviews for the JHI during the previous year.

Finally, every three years we review the membership of the International Advisory Board of the JHI, and invite our most prolific Reviewers to join the Board.

UK-based Reviewers are eligible to claim 1 CPD credit for undertaking a review. Non-UK based Reviewers may also be eligible for credits, however please check this with the provider of your own guidelines.